Global Biodiversity is in a crisis as there is a loss in biodiversity on
a daily rate. The importance of this loss is now well understood and widely
accepted. What is also accepted is that a problem with such a global scale
requires a global response. The international community's response has been
to rely on a structural approach common to the resolution of international
At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a
comprehensive strategy for meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a
healthy and viable world for future generations "Sustainable
Development". One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the
Convention on Biological Diversity.
This pact among the vast majority of the world's governments sets out
commitments for maintaining the world's ecological underpinnings as we go
about the business of economic development.
The Convention establishes three main goals:
- The conservation of biological diversity,
- The sustainable use of its components,
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
To date 188 Countries have signed the Convention including Zambia.
Article 19 of the Convention includes a supplementary agreement to the
Convention regulating the transfer, handling and use of genetically modified
organisms (GMOs). The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
Biological Diversity adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
on 29 January 2000. This protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from
potential risks that may be posed by living modified organisms (LMOs)
resulting from modern biotechnology
Brief Background of the Convention
Preparations for a Convention on Biological Diversity were initiated by
the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in
1987 through the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working roup of Experts on
Biological Diversity which met in 1988. The Ad Hoc Working Group
was followed in 1991 by an Intergovewrnmental Negotiating Committee for a
Convention on Biological Diversity. The agreed text of the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted by 101 Governments in Nairobi, Kenya
in May 1992 and signed by 159 Governments and the European Union at the
Inited Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio
de Janeiro in June 1992. The Convention entered into force on 29th December
1993 and the first meeting of the Conference of Parties was held in Nassau,
Bahamas, in November - December 1994.
The broad scope of the convention is illustrated in its Article 1,
Objectives, which states: